Scottish Athletics talks on new £6m centre of excellence at advanced stage

Laura Muir won European indoor gold over 1500m and 3000m at Glasgow's Emirates Arena in March
Laura Muir won European indoor golds over 1500m and 3000m at Glasgow's Emirates Arena in March

Discussions to create a new centre of excellence for athletics in Scotland are at an advanced stage.

And Scottish Athletics chief executive Mark Munro has told BBC Scotland he is "confident" the project will go ahead.

A venue along the M8 corridor is the preferred location, with Munro admitting that the "biggest challenge" is finding the capital.

"It's a lot of money, around £5-6m. But, in the grand scheme of facility builds, it's low level," Munro said.

"Operations and costs need to be sustainable and need to work for athletes. We're close to getting it right and I'm confident that we can make it happen."

Munro pointed out that many top athletes had to move away from Scotland to find suitable facilities.

"We have world-class athletes and coaches, so it's important we give every athlete the chance to stay in Scotland," he said.

"If you can't access facilities in the winter and you're a technical eventer or endurance athlete, you won't stay here.

"Zoey Clark, Eilidh Doyle, Andy Butchart, Eilish McColgan, Laura Muir; they're all back here and show it can be done. But, if we are going to continue that pipeline, we need to make sure we build on that. We don't want them to disappear."

The Emirates Arena in Glasgow, built for the 2014 Commonwealth Games, can cater for a number of sports, including tennis, basketball and cycling, as well as indoor athletics.

However, Munro suggested that it "has become more of an events venue and there are restrictions to when athletes and coaches can access it".

"Scotland requires a national training centre," he said. "We've been doing exploratory work with the Scottish Government and Sportscotland.

"We've been looking at various build-types in respect of indoor facilities. But we need to make sure we can afford to operate a facility, that's more important - it needs to be right for the sport. We're close to a point now where we can take those conversations further."